Making the morning rounds.
• Breaking Bad. Capitalizing on the end of the academic term, the latest edition of ESPN the Magazine anoints 2010-11 "The Most Scandalous Year in College Sports," which is stating the obvious: On the football side alone, the low-down sagas of Jim Tressel, Cam Newton, Reggie Bush, John Blake and John Junker have already enshrined them among the most notorious scandal-makers in NCAA history, and they're really only the tip of the iceberg. Along with the assorted trials of multiple high-profile basketball coaches, either the last 12 months will turn out to be the Year the NCAA Woke Up, or they've all been a little too inspired by the success of Walter White. [ESPN the Magazine]
• "Nonprofit" doesn't mean nobody profits. On that note, minor chords sounded around Sugar Bowl offices Wednesday, when a new IRS filing showed it paid CEO Paul Hoolahan nearly $600,000 in 2009 — which was actually down from his $645,000 take in 2008, due to the larger bonus he received that year for overseeing the BCS Championship Game. Hoolahan's $594,000 salary in '09 is slightly higher than the $592,000 earned that year by ex-Fiesta Bowl CEO John Junker, whose head now rests on a pike as a warning to his BCS colleagues. [Associated Press]
• Trickle-down academics. The Big Ten has begun preliminary talks about funneling more scholarship money to football and basketball players in the form of a "cost of attendance" increase, which would ostensibly cover certain living expenses — transportation, clothing, etc. — that their current scholarships don't cover. Closing the gap would cost schools an extra $3,000 per athlete per year, chump change for the likes of Michigan and Ohio State but a steep proposition for some less-privileged competition; if Title IX extends the proposed increase across all sports, most Division I athletic departments won't have a prayer of keeping pace. [ESPN]
• I feel a Slive. SEC commissioner Mike Slive said Wednesday he plans to introduce legislation combating oversigning and other aspects of "roster management" at conference meetings in Destin, Fla., later this month, though he kept his cards close to the vest about what that might entail. "It's a question of over-signing, grayshirting, early admissions, summer school admission," Slive told the Macon Telegraph. "We've put together what we call a bit of a package to address these issues, that will give our people a chance to think about these issues in a more global fashion. So then it will be an important discussion item in Destin." From the sounds of it, the "discussion" will likely result in a vote, which I'd bet splits along divisional lines. [Macon Telegraph]
• Bye, everybody! Oregon State has dismissed head trainer Barney Graff "amid growing questions and complaints" about his work and the OSU sports medicine department in general. Graff joined the staff in 1997 under coach Mike Riley, who declined to go into details but acknowledged that he'd met with Graff several times to address "recurring problems" and that some players had lost confidence in the care they were receiving. (Others have openly complained about treatment on Graff's watch.)
"I think I can say we're just going a different direction with this medical situation," Riley said. "We're going to have new leadership, and a new culture." [The Oregonian]
• Happy trails. Arkansas offensive lineman Seth Oxner, a full-time starter in 2009 and a key backup last year, confirmed Wednesday he's leaving the team with a year of eligibility remaining after earning his degree in applied exercise science last weekend. Oxner didn't elaborate on his immediate plans, but is expected to return to his hometown to finish his career with the world famous Boll Weevils of Arkansas-Monticello. [Arkansas Democrat-Gazette]
Quickly… Jim Tressel says Brady Hoke boosts the Michigan-Ohio State rivalry, but doesn't elaborate. … Georgia and Clemson set dates for another temporary renewal of hostilities. … Oklahoma breaks out the ponies for Gameday. … Purdue's 15-man class may be losing another member. … ESPN on the Aaron Douglas fiasco. … A Supreme Court justice compares critics of the court to bickering SEC fans. … And former Kentucky quarterback Jared Lorenzen is keeping it hefty in arena ball.
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Matt Hinton is on Twitter: Follow him @DrSaturday.